The Cavs have been a hard watch lately. They often times tease by looking mildly competent early in the game. Tonight was no different. They led by one after the first half. They held the Jazz to just five made 3s and 46.2% from the floor. Cleveland didn’t look amazing, but they looked like they might make the game close, as the Jazz seemed a little bit off. This was not the case though. The Jazz hit 9 3s in the second half and shot a blazing 55% from the field to outscore Cleveland by 27 points.
This team has a habit of making a five point lead seem insurmountable once the game is in the second half. They simply cannot hang or comeback. With 2:22 left in the third, Donovan Mitchell hit a jump shot to put the Jazz up six. Jordan Clarkson responded with a layup right away. After that, the Jazz just kept their lead building till the game was over.
Mitchell led the Jazz in scoring with 18 points on 7-12 shooting to go with five assists. He had a game high plus/minus of 28. Rudy Gobert had 12 points, seven rebounds, and five blocks. He was +25 for the game. Anytime he was on the floor, guys stopped driving the ball, and on offense he sucked in two defenders at nearly all times. Ricky Rubio also chipped in 15 points and five assists. Jae Crowder had 16. The Cavs were led by Alec Burks with 17 points. He went 3-4 from the 3-line.
The Cavs opened up the first quarter having trouble creating space for shots. The Jazz closed up anything they created with picks; the offense looked really rough. The Cavs didn’t help themselves either, as they barely moved off the ball. Rudy Gobert did exactly what he is known for and sealed up the rim. Nance and Jordan Clarkson scored the only shots at the rack for the Cavs in the first. Nance’s came off a mismatch against Mitchell, and Clarkson’s came without the French Rejection on the floor. The offense improved when the bench checked in. Clarkson and Channing Frye had the shot of the quarter for Cleveland when Clarkson used an off-ball screen to spring open to the rim for a Frye dish.
Defensively, the Cavs weren’t great, despite holding the Jazz to 36% from the floor. They got lost trying to stop Gobert’s rolls and left the weak side open far too much. The Jazz were 2-9 from deep, but nearly every look was open.
The Jazz do a really good job of making sure both sides of the floor are doing something on offense. Their guys get the ball going into screens on the move. Look how Ingles came around for a dribble hand-off here and didn’t even give Cedi Osman a chance to get into a decent defending position. After one, the Jazz led 23-20.
The second quarter started out awesome for the Cavs. They ripped off a 14-2 run behind the bench play of Rodney Hood, who had eight in the quarter, and Alec Burks, who had four. Frye started the action with a 3-ball off a Clarkson drive and dish. Then Frye stole the ball off Ingles and Clarkson finished it off for two to trade assists with the old fella. Burks and Hood both ended up at the line during the run and hit 3s. The Jazz fueled the run by turning it over three times for buckets. After the blitz, the Cavs led 34-25. Then the Jazz started to come back when Gobert and Mitchell returned to the floor.
Mitchell got hot scoring nine of his points in this quarter. He finished the action off hitting a 3 after Clarkson was blocked on a fast break with 50.4 to go and then he hit a final floater before the half ended. Rubio also added eight hitting two 3s. The Cavs stayed in the quarter though by continually getting to the line, since the Jazz were in the bonus with 5:30 to go. They went 10-11 from the charity stripe and into the locker room ahead 49-48.
The third quarter is where it all went wrong for the Wine & Gold. They were outscored 33-22. It looked okay to start though. Nance slipped a screen with Sexton and went to the rim for a nice layup. Overall, Cleveland wasn’t making good looks or really moving around at all or running an offense. Cedi combated that a little bit by himself. He had eight and figured out how to hesitate on his dribble just enough to stymie Gobert’s defense. He scored all of his points for the game in the quarter.
The Cavs kept around trading shots with the Jazz, but during the final 3:00 minutes that plan failed. The Jazz went on an 11-4 run. Mitchell and Crowder both hit 3s and Kyle Kover got three the hardest way, getting hit when shooting the long ball. The Jazz hit five 3s in the quarter, and Mitchell had nine points going solo. The Cavs entered the fourth down, 81-71.
The Cavs didn’t get closer than ten in the fourth, and the Jazz opened up scoring seven straight. The Cavs seemed uninterested in trying to do anything productive. Offensively, they were chucking, and there’s not much to mention about the defense. They let the Jazz score 39 points!
1. The Cavs allowed the Jazz to shoot 51.2% from the floor. They didn’t cover the weak side at all tonight, as the Jazz took 35 3s. Cleveland dropped into the paint far too much trying to slow Gobert, and the Jazz passed the ball to the open man nearly every time. They hit 14 3s.
2. 28 of the Jazz’s 42 baskets were assisted on.
3. The Jazz move the ball very smartly. They run multiple actions and actually force teams to cover the whole floor. They’re nearly the complete opposite of the Cavs on offense. Look at the above shot chart. The Jazz get to the rim and take 3s. The Cavs make scribbles in the mid-range area. If you can’t tell, the Cavs are the right side of the chart.
4. This is what the Cavs run. Clarkson drives and kicks the ball. Collin Sexton catches the ball and doesn’t take the open 3. Notice the 3 Cavs just standing on the other side. Notice the Cav walking back to play defense before the play is done.
5.Larry Drew needs to institute a no standing policy. Or, at least tell weak side players to set off-ball screens for one another.
6. Sexton had a terrible game getting 13 points using 13 shots. He had three assists and four turnovers. He avoided the rim at all costs. Literally, he did not take a shot at the rim. Tristan Thomspon had an awful game too. He was 3-10 for eight points and had 12 rebounds.
7. Larry Nance barely seemed present this game. He had nine boards and ten points. He had only one assist and didn’t get the ball nearly enough. The Cavs need to make him a focal point of the offense. It makes the team better.
1. There’s not much to be excited about after this game, but I can’t be entirely negative. So here’s my take: Channing Frye needs to play with Jordan Clarkson more because he tempers him in some ways. It’s not often that Clarkson has two of the most in the pace of the offense baskets in a game. He put up 12 tonight on 6-12 shooting. Check out the plays:
2. Rodney Hood helped the Cavs stay in it in the second quarter with his eight points. He finished the game with 12 points on 3-6 shooting.
3. Anthony Davis and the Pelicans are in town tomorrow. Let’s hope for the best.